The Nigerian shot-stopper could have landed in big trouble after dancing to the tune of his manager to bend the rules of the game
Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye may have avoided sanctions for simulating injury in an Eredivisie match at the weekend after the league organising body, KNVB, announced that it would not be investigating the incident.
Okoye kept his fourth clean sheet of the season, and his second in three matches, as Sparta Rotterdam secured a narrow 1-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles at the Sparta-Stadion Het Kasteel, Rotterdam, on Saturday.
But midway through the first half, with scores still goalless, Sparta boss Henk Fraser signaled to Okoye to lie down and pretend to be injured so the manager could pass tactical instructions to his outfield players. Adil Auassar’s second-half strike eventually won the tie for the home side.
After the encounter, Fraser did not deny employing that out-of-the-rule-book tactic to convey tactical changes to his charges. With Sparta swimming dangerously in relegation waters, Fraser insists it is not the time for him to play the role of a gentleman.
“We are Dutch. I am proud to be fifty-fifty Surinamese. But we are very good at finding the loopholes in the law,” the tactician said, as per Voetbalzone.
“It is not up to me to change that. You could, of course, influence it. People can say that they think I am very unsportsmanlike, I think that’s fine and I understand that. I have to survive; we have to survive as Sparta.
“A lot is allowed in sport and love.”
But the incident sparked a swirling debate, with many believing it is becoming a growing trend in the Netherlands’ top-flight.
And according to Voetbalprimeur, the KNVB has now offered its response, with the body maintaining that such underhand tactics are undesirable.
The football body admitted that it would look at what can be done to tackle the menace ‘in a general sense’. It, however, revealed that Okoye’s action would not be further investigated.
That would be good news to Sparta, which need their Nigerian import between the sticks to improve their chances of avoiding the drop.